September 2020 ….final dates to be advised when SlowFood confirm the festival date
expected date 19th-26th September
The rolling Langhe hills were the birthplace of the Slow Food organisation whose central goal is to both reconnect consumers with producers as well as promote and protect quality food production the world over. Every 2 years, in the third week of September, Slow Food holds the Salone del Gusto event in the stunningly beautiful city of Turin, where producers from all regions of Italy, as well as many others from around Europe and the world, come to show their amazing produce.
Taste of Life Tours has put together an exclusive tour featuring a two day visit to the Salone del Gusto event as well as several more days featuring the incredible food, wine, culture and scenery of this northwestern corner of Italy. With numbers strictly limited to a maximum of 7 people, participants on this boutique tour are ensured an unparalleled fine food and wine experience.
Rendevous with me and the rest of the group in the amazing city of Turin at our stunning accommodation in the heart of the old centre – centro storico of town. We will head out on foot into town for apperitivo drinks and dinner.
Today we will attend the Salone del Gusto event held through the sprawling grounds of the Lingotto Convention Centre. We will spend the morning walking around the different event sites in the city, looking, smelling, talking and most importantly tasting the amazing array of Slow Food certified products from producers all over Italy and the world. We will take things at a relaxed pace, this is a Slow Food event after all.
Lunch is not included today, but I expect you will be quite full from the constant tasting throughout the morning. In the afternoon you have the option of breaking off from the group to do your own Salone del Gusto exploring, or you can stick with me doing more of the same.
Once your legs (and stomach) tire from the walking and tasting, feel at leisure to head back to our hotel for a break from all of the gourmet mayhem. We will meet up together in the early evening and once again head into the city on foot for apperitivo drinks and dinner at in the centro storico city.
For our last morning in the city of Turin we will start the day with a visit to the small factory of what is, in my opinion, the BEST artisan chocolatier in Turin. A fact not many people are aware of is that this corner of Italy was the birthplace of sweetened chocolate and a tradition of fine chocolate making stretches back centuries. See and smell the array of products being made at all stages, from bean to final product, and then do a tasting of some of their most sought after products.
Following this incredible tasting and a final lunch in the city we will bid ‘arrivederci’ to Turin and make our way south and west into the Italian/ French Alps to the Castelmagno region. We will be staying in re-constructed apartments in a tiny mountainside hamlet at around 1000m ASL. We will base here for 2 nights and experience the best of the Alps – see all stages of the making of the famed Castelmagno d’Alpeggio cheese, the milking of the special Alpine cows directly on the mountainside, the opportunity to do some hiking, as well as some time to just relax in this peaceful environment. Of course there is also great food and wine to be had at the Rifucio here. The wines in particular are first rate as the group behind this project to save the abandoned village and almost extinct Castelmagno d’Alpeggio cheese is made up of several of the Barolo zone’s best and most famous producers, and all of their wines are socked in the refuge.
Optional alpine hike to start the day. Depending on the group, we can make this hike as long, short,easy or difficult as you like. Suffice to say that any time spent wandering the alpine meadows up here is both relaxing and inspirational. Be sure to bring your camera along on any of the excursions we do!
Later in the morning we will view and have the possibility of participating in the making of the incredible Castelmagno d’Alpeggio cheese, followed by a tasting of both this and the other cheeses made on the mountain. We will take lunch at another small Rifugio we get to on foot before taking the opportunity to just relax back at the village.
Our final morning in the Alps gives the opportunity for one more walk if desired (or just have a lie-in), see the next stages of the cheese making, before we have a final lunch in the mountains, and then head down to the Barolo zone and the beautiful hilltop town of Monforte d’Alba.
We will base in the rolling Langhe hills for the remainder of the trip and experience the very best of the fine wines and find unique gastronomy of this famed region, starting with a wonderful first dinner together this evening.
Our first full day in the Barolo zone will be spent with a focus on wine tasting. We will have an appointment wine tasting with some of the the area’s best producers during both the morning and afternoon. Being late September, the wine area will be abuzz with the 2020 harvest, so you are sure to be able to see the grape picking in action and perhaps sample some fresh grape berries about to be transformed into some of the most sought after bottles of wine on the planet.
We will take lunch in the rolling, vine-covered hills in between our tastings and in the evening perhaps go a little more casual with a visit to a great local pizzeria to experience some true Italian pizza.
Today we will start the day with a cooking class at one of our favourite local agriturismos. An agriturismo is a working farm which also offers accommodation. The one we plan to visit is home to perhaps our favourite country restaurant, where the young chef and his mother prepare some incredible cuisine with both modern inspiration as well as significant respect for the traditional dishes of the area. Much of the fresh produce is grown right on the farm itself.
After a few hours of preparing several dishes, you will have a short break before a long lunch from what we all prepare in the morning.
For the later afternoon we hope to be able to take you on a real life truffle hunt. The hills of the Barol zone produce both black truffles and the most famous (and expensive) truffle in the world – the Alba White Truffle. Depending on the season and the weather conditions will determine which of the truffles we hunt for. If we are unable to conduct the truffle hunt, we will organise another afternoon activity such as another appointment wine tasting, a visit to the famous town of Barolo itself, perhaps the wine museum of Barolo, with many other great options also existing.
If we chance upon some truffle, then I will be sure to purchase some to eat with our final dinner this evening which will be held at the most uniquely constructed restaurant I have ever had the fortune of dining at. The owner, Giulio, has an incredible cellar featuring many ancient vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco wines. So be prepared for an amazing final dinner.
Check-out and carry on with your travels. Included in the tour cost are transfers back to Turin city, Turin Aiport, or any other town or train station in the area. Please consult with us regarding your onwards travel plans so we can best customise your departure and that of the rest of the group.
What the package includes:
This tour is priced from €2,880 pp twin share/double
Single Supplement €400
Aosta Valley Extension
expected dates – 26th – 28th September 2020
For the 2020 Salone del Gusto Tour, Taste of Life Tours are offering a unique 3 day add-on which will focus on the Aosta Valley.
The Aosta Valley is an incredible place to visit both in terms of the abundant natural beauty as well as its unique cultural and gastronomic offerings. Being wedged in the furthest Northwest corner of Italy, where the Swiss Alps meet the French Alps, it is home to Italy’s largest national park – Gran Paradiso, and is also home to Europe’s highest peak – Mt Blanc. The region displays obvious French and German characteristics in its architecture, language and food.
From our last morning in Monforte d’Alba and the Barolo wine zone we will make our way up to the Aosta Valley and immerse ourselves in this wonderful area which is well off the beaten tourist path for Western visitors to Italy.
Our extension tour will include appointment wine tastings with the top wine producers of Aosta, a walk in the Gran Paradiso National Park which includes a visit to an alpine Fontina Cheese producer, a trip up the Mt Blanc Skyway cable car to Punta Helbroner (3462m) with unrivalled views of Aosta Valley below and a guaranteed lunch with a view, a visit to the Forte di Barde – the commanding castle in the heart of Aosta Valley including the changing modern art exhibition there as well as a visit to the famed Pre St Didier thermal springs at the foot of Mt Blanc for an evening spa session.
This tour extension includes all accommodation, transport, entrances and appointments and all meals.
Single Supplement €210